BROOKSIDE star Stephen Pinder was on the team of judges to decide the three finalists in The Chester Food & Drink Festival Young Chef Competition.
West Cheshire College hosted the qualifying round at its Eaton Road Campus, in which the chefs were against the clock, with 45 minutes to prepare an original main course dish using fresh local produce. Contestants were judged on taste, presentation and cleanliness.
Into the final, to be staged this weekend, are: Robert McDermot, 23, of The Red House, Boughton; Richard Lovell, 20, of Upstairs at The Grill, Watergate Street; Artur Hebel, 25, of Pastarazzi, Grosvenor Street. Runners-up were: Craig Jones, 18, who is studying Catering Level 3 at West Cheshire College, and Ian Winqvist, 20, of The Macdonald New Blossoms Hotel.
Judges were Jane Casson, of Made in Cheshire, Shaun Turner, of Hospitality Recruitment Specialists Halcyon Recruitment and Stephen Pinder, otherwise known as Max Farnham from Brookside.
Robert McDermot rustled up rabbit wrapped in smoky bacon, Richard Lovell prepared fish pie with a double mussel veloute, Artur Hebel cooked salmon with bruschetta, parsnips, new potatoes and garlic butter, Craig Jones cooked a seafood risotto and Ian Winqvist cooked lamb noisettes, new potatoes, bubble and squeak cakes and griddled courgettes in an orange and herb sauce.